Megamind 3D Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 2.35:1 1080p 3D transfer and is Region Free.
The 3D presentation is how the film was made to be seen and it does not disappoint, so whilst in its 2D guise there was nothing spectacular to make it stand out from the crowd, when viewed correctly the many effective 3D elements gel to make a very competent working whole. Right from the off you know things are going ot be great, look at the solidity to the characters, their ‘roundness’, how the baby Megamind’s head curves back into the screen, how his arms and legs push out of the screen, how, when looking from his point of view, his parents are set back from the frame giving the enveloping nature of the spacecraft. Things only get better with the destruction of the planet and its debris flying into and out of the screen. Now take a look over Metro City as the two spacecraft vie for position, how the landscape flows far into the distance and how the spacecraft hover above the ground. When things become more intimate, look at how the various implements of torture surround Roxanne, or how the observatory roof curves up and over, or the distance given to Megamind’s secret lair; how the Brainbots float into and out of the frame. Layering is sublime with careful consideration given to hold the foreground while the perception of distance reaches way back. Some of the best effects involve crowds of people, when Metro Man dedicating his museum, or when he flies through and over the crowd – truly excellent stuff. Negative parallax is also well catered for with death rays, debris, popcorn and other items flying into your face; though never gratuitously and therefore keeping you in the moment. Wonderful stuff.
And as to be expected the rest of the image stands up to close scrutiny; it has the pin sharp detail that highlights everything the animators want you to see; such as Megamind’s suit designs, the crease of leather, or the individual spikes, the hairs on Metro Man’s chin in his ‘retirement’, the intricate design of Minion’s robotic suits, or the cityscape, how glass shimmers, and later the debris from the various explosions and destruction of buildings, watch out for the dust and cloud effects too, of particular note are the crowds, wow – each contain absolute detail.
Colours too are bold and strong, showing no sign of bleed or wash, the soft blue of Megamind’s skin, the bolder blue of the sky, the various reds of the explosions, or the oranges of the prison suits, greens of the grass or Megamind’s eyes, or deep within the lair – all shine from the screen with an urgency that demands attention.
Contrast and brightness are set to give superb blacks (with the usual 3D caveat), again look to the observatory lair, or that of the leather suits. Shadow detail is well defined when detailed by the animators.
Digitally there are no compression problems, no banding or posterization and the aliasing that was so noticeable in the 2D image is now virtually non-existent, using passive 3D technology there were a couple of instances, but I put that down to the technology, because all the areas that exhibited problems before have been rectified, and, of course, the image is completely free of crosstalk. This is the way the film should be presented.
Of the tracks that the disc presents, I concentrate on the English Dolby TrueHD 7.1. In what appears at first as a rather quiet and unassuming track needs a couple of notches on the volume to really bring it alive. Once done the track really shows off quite how dynamic it is containing decent stereo effects both left and right, and back and front, listen to the brainbots beeping around the sound-scape or how the various explosions whoosh from front to back and the debris scatters around as examples. Dialogue is always clear and precise, emanates from the frontal array and sounds perfectly natural. Bass, this time around has been given a little oomph and it really makes a difference, it keeps everything grounded nicely and the LF effects give the sub some nice work to do, particularly with the destruction of the observatory under the sun’s impact, or the various building destructions while Megamind is in his battle suit. (No danger that the track was ever going to blow my speakers though, despite the claims in the commentary that it blew the sound mixers!) The scores gets a very good presentation and does really place you in the centre of the action, whilst other discreet effects add to the ambience and help envelope the sound field. In all the slight boost in dynamism has pushed this track into reference.
- The Button of Doom – HD, 15.52 - An all new short starring Megamind and Minion that takes place immediately after the film and sees Megamind selling off all his ‘useless’ evil inventions. That is until the pair discover the ‘Button of Doom’ which activates a forgotten about huge robot that subsequently goes on a rampage thinking that Megamind is Metro Man due to his white costume. With a widescreen 1.78:1 1080p picture and full Dolby TrueHD 7.1 sound, this looks and sounds even better than the main feature; top stuff.
- Audio Commentary - Director Tom McGrath, producers Lara Breay, Denise Nolan Cascino and writers Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons are on hand to talk us through the various productions stages of the film, from its conception and writing through to preproduction, casting, animating and development. You get the feeling that everyone is extremely passionate about the project, with plenty of information being imparted, both technical and anecdotal. In the beginning there are rarely any breaks with information coming thick and fast, inevitably this slows towards the end with gaps becoming more apparent and comments on what is happening on screen taking up the fill. On the whole, though, this one is pretty good.
- The Animators’ Corner - A picture in picture making of sequence that run in the bottom quarter of the film; makes use of interview segments with cast and crew, behind the scenes filming, discussion with the animators about key scenes and how they were achieved, story boards and animatics – also makes use of the above film-makers commentary – in what makes up a very comprehensive feature.
- Trivia Track - Pop up windows appear throughout the film keeping you informed on such delights as a mispronunciation score, face smash score, technical aspects, animation aspects and other trivia – windows are somewhat infrequent but can be played together with the film-makers commentary.
- Comic Creator - Selecting this feature allows you to place typical comic book words (such as Bang, Whoosh, Ka-boom etc) on top of the film as it’s playing – worthless.
- Behind the Mind - HD - Four sections, entitled Hideouts, Inventions, Vehicles and Megamind: Good & Evil, house original and developmental artwork that can be navigated with the remote.
- Meet the Cast of Megamind – 09.29, HD - Behind the scenes filming of the main cast during the recording sessions, showcases how improvisation made for a more realistic and naturalistic dialogue and from this came all the word play, mispronounced words etc.
- Deleted Scene – 1.36, HD - After a brief introduction explaining why this short scene was removed (pacing) we get to see it in its few second extension – honestly would fifteen seconds of extra footage have made that much difference ...?
- Inside Megamind’s Lair – 07.17, HD - Starting off by looking at designs for Megamind’s costume, the short feature then moves onto looking at the designs behind his lair’s and the various failed experiments and equipment that make them up, contains interviews and drawing to help realise the vision – also voiced over in what was probably once an EKP feature.
- Animationman, 02.01, HD - Showcases the animator’s videoing themselves as reference points to give a greater realism to their creations – animators are failed actors perhaps? Has the same voice over as the above feature.
- You can Draw Megamind – 13.14, HD - Artist Andy Schuler draws Megamind in a running away pose, it’s a basic outline drawing and he doesn’t even finish it, very odd feature.
- Megarap – 01.01, HD - Watch scenes from the film while listening to a rap song about the film – dear god it’s bad.
- Reign of Megamind Comic Book - Scroll through the ‘pages’ of this comic book with your remote; tells, as far as I can tell, of the time when Megamind first took over the city and is using Roxanne as a spokesperson – but the remote is so slow to respond that I died before completing it.
- Spot the Difference - With three levels of difficulty you spot the difference between two nearly identical images – but that’s all, there is no instruction, the remote does nothing to highlight any differences, you just have 30 seconds to spot discrepancies and then have the option to try again, be shown the differences, or move on.
- World of Dreamworks Animation -Trailers and music from Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Shrek and How to Train your Dragon.
- Previews - Megamind THQ game trailer.
- 2D Blu-ray - The film in its 2D form, is exaclty the same disc that has been around for a year and contains all the extra material.
- DVD - The film in its DVD form.
So, what starts off as a promising amount of extra material soon degenerates into woeful games and ordinary making of content, the short ‘Button of Doom’ is wonderful though and eclipses everything else with its presentation.
Megamind is Dreamworks' latest CG animation which tells a loose allegory of the Superman/Lex Luthor eternal struggle, only this time ‘evil’ wins. Will Ferrell voices the titular character with typical verve, in a persona that adopts an evil visage to garner attention when young and when it works sets out his life on that path. Only when the chips are down, and he wants the girl, evil has nowhere to turn except to good. It contains some clever ideas and lofty concepts for what is essentially a kids action adventure, and had it had the strength of its convictions or an emotional element that involves the audience beyond mere spectators, it may have amounted to an extremely good film, as it is it plays it soft, slapstick and ultimately lame; whilst remaining enjoyable and watchable it's basically unremarkable.
As a 3D Blu-ray package it is finally fully commercially available and not tied in an exclusive deal, which mean everyone can sample the film exactly how it was originally envisioned; and it is a delight, the 3D picture is bright and bold with plenty of effects, both into and out of the screen. The sound mix has been given a slight boost bringing it in line with the reference picture, and whilst the extras are still the same naff material as previously available at least this set contains everything you need to make it a future proof buy.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £29.99
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